Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New group opposes Hinkley Point nuclear plans

Hinkley Point
Cannington lies seven miles from the Hinkley Point site

A pressure group has been formed to lobby for changes to plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Save Cannington Action Group said it was concerned about the impact the plant's construction would have on the village, which is seven miles away.

Spokesman Alan Beasley said roads in the area were already overused and could not cope with the extra traffic.

But Hinkley Point's management said the new plant would bring lasting benefits.

Public inquiry

Hinkley Point's manager Simon Dunford said the plant would leave a legacy of thousands of skilled jobs in the area while thousands more would be employed over the nine years of its construction.

He told BBC Somerset: "There will be lots of upskilling - of benefit to the whole UK construction industry - ongoing employment for 60 years and lots of low-carbon electricity produced.

"There will be a major benefit - financially - to this part of Somerset."

All we want them to do, is to implement what was in the public inquiry
Save Cannington Action Group

Mr Beasley his group was not opposed to nuclear power but he was concerned that all construction traffic would come through the A39 into Cannington.

He said he was also worried that the new plant's operators, EDF Energy, were planning a large park-and-ride, a freight marshalling yard and workers' temporary accommodation in the village.

He added "A public inquiry [in 1989] said that the roads were unsuitable and the real solution was a bypass that would take the traffic away from Bridgwater and Cannington.

"There has to be some proposals on this. All we want them to do, is to implement what was in the public inquiry."

Reactor fears

Mr Dunford said that a lot of public concerns at the project would be mitigated during the ongoing consultation process and added that the temporary workers' housing could be used by students or new businesses when the construction ended.

Proposed nuclear development site
Temporary homes for 210 construction workers are planned in the village

He said: "At least 80% of material that will come on to site will come in by a specially constructed jetty. A very small amount will travel by road."

French-based EDF Energy hope construction will begin in 2011 and the plant will come online in 2018.

Enough earth to fill Wembley Stadium three times over will be removed from the site and a million cubic metres of concrete will be used in construction.

EDF will hold a consultation exercise at Cannington College main hall at 1900 BST on 5 January

An existing group fighting the plans, Stop Hinkley, have claimed the reactor would be unsafe.

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